Martin Kidston

(Missoula Current) With the amount of construction underway or slated for areas of the Northside Neighborhood, members of City Council were pleased this week to award a design contract to explore improvements to Scott Street.

Brandt Dahlen with Public Works said three firms submitted bids to conduct the study, which includes preliminary design and consulting services. In the end, the city selected WGM Group for the job.

Dahlen said the final product will include design and cost estimates for a number of proposed improvements to the corridor from Phillips to Otis.

Along with resurfacing the roadway, the work could consider sidewalks, two-way protected bike lane, roundabouts, turn lanes, cross walks, street lighting and bridge improvements.

“We're just looking into the options,” said Dahlen.

Areas of the Northside are seeing a new wave of development including affordable and deed-restrict housing. A commercial housing project is planned in partnership with the city, and other Brownfield sites are eyed for redevelopment.

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The city also has plans to consolidate a number of employees to the area from Public Works, and Parks and Recreation, among others. Several commercial projects have also been proposed.

The $99,000 design contract will consider the area's main corridor, that being Scott Street. The cost will be covered by transportation impact fees, Dahlen said.

“We're hoping it's built in next year's construction season,” he said. “We will come back for an amendment for final design.”

Given the amount of growth and the area's limited infrastructure, concerns over traffic, and ingress and egress to the area, have begun to mount. The city has plans to explore other transportation improvements in the area, though Scott Street will likely be first.

The city planned to conduct a walking audit of the corridor on Thursday.

“This has been something a lot of us have been waiting to see happen,” said council member Mirtha Becerra. “It's one step closer.”